From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

An educational organisation, Fides Et Ratio Academy, has denied an investigative report alleging that a purported N2.9 billion contract awarded to it by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) was not executed.

Speaking to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja during a media parley on the firm’s plan to roll out massive skill training programs in the country, Chief Executive Officer of the Academy, Paul Chukwuma, clarified that the organisation never had a contract with TETFund.

Chukwuma, who owns a university in East Africa, explained that Fides Et Ratio Academy only entered into an agreement with TETFund on a skill training program for directors and deputy directors of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as well as students in higher education institutions in the country.

Expressing surprise over the erroneous report, Chukwuma asserted that the academy’s project was fully executed.

“I never had a contract with TETFund. What I had was service engagement. I don’t do contracts with my education interest. In the university, if you want a course, you pay for it,” he said.

Regarding the first component of the project with TETFund, involving training ICT directors and their deputies, Chukwuma stated that a total of 502 directors and deputy directors were trained. He added that he did the project at a loss.

“TETFund has something like a consolidated structure where they will negotiate for services, and every institution will benefit from that negotiated service, which we refused because it was a ridiculous pricing module,” he explained.

Related News

“But for the project, I did it at a loss, and I can show evidence, and it’s so painful that the project I did at a loss is being carried in the way and manner it’s been done,” he added.

On the students’ component of the project, Chukwuma said it was also underpriced. “Instead of our normal fee of 20 dollars per module, per participant, what TETFund eventually agreed to pay, which they have not even finished paying per participant, was N1, 535,” he said.

Chukwuma further lamented that the report alleged that Fides Et Ratio Academy has no functional office and website. “That was not correct,” he emphasised. “I have been in this office close to 20 years, at least for 15 years. The report says they couldn’t find my office, but you can see I have an office, and this is my office.”

“The second thing that was raised was that we don’t have a functional website, which was also not correct. The third issue was that the training was not done, that we just went around and had unnecessary meetings; that was a mischief,” he added.

Meanwhile, Chukwuma stressed the urgent need for Nigerians to embrace ICT skills instead of relying on mere certificates.

Calling on the Nigerian media to push the agenda of ICT skills development in the country, Chukwuma linked the unemployment problem in the nation to the production of graduates who are unable to add value due to a lack of skills.

The Fides Et Ratio Academy boss revealed that the organisation will soon roll out a massive program that will go a long way to bridge the skills gap in the country. He expressed the organisation’s readiness to continue partnering with government agencies and other relevant stakeholders to add value to the nation’s education system.